Welcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic. This Wednesday’s theme is Favourite First Sentences. As we all know, first sentences do a lot to sell a book to a new reader. They are an author’s chance to really grab the reader and suck them into the world they have created. Because of this, my favourite first sentences are often ones which instantly highlight the weird or wonderful story that is about to unfold in front of my very eyes.
Confession time: I am a fiend for browsing those ‘top 100 first lines of novels’ lists that you often get on book sites (I’ve linked some at the bottom of this post), to the point where I collect opening lines. I might end up with a first sentence in my collection which I adore because it sets up a story so wonderfully, even if I didn’t end up loving the story that follows. Likewise, some of my favourite books only have so-so opening lines in comparison. So, whilst some of these first lines are on the list because they are the opening lines of some of my favourite books, others on this list are just damn good first lines. Since this is quite long enough already, I’ll just let the lines speak for themselves instead of rambling on about why I picked them – if you’re curious though, comment below and I’d be happy to explain my reasoning.
Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t simply pick five so, instead, I offer up 4 different lists which contain my top 5 first sentences from… Shakespeare plays, classics, modern/contemporary novels, and books I have yet to read – hopefully you enjoy a good list as much as I do, since I’ve given you four of them!
Enough explanation, let’s go…
Book Traveling Thursdays is a weekly meme for book bloggers which celebrates the distance a book travels by way of its covers. I’ve only recently discovered this meme thanks to the blog of the co-creator, Catia (the other being Danielle) and the Goodreads group, but I love the concept of it – particularly because it gives me the chance to see beautiful editions of books and develop some major cover envy.
This week’s theme is… Everyone loves movies – choose a movie that is going to be adapted in 2016. I thought long and hard about this theme until the obvious came and slapped me in the face – J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise.
Directed by Ben Wheatley, High Rise is a film due to be released in March 2016 (at least in the UK). Based on the 1975 book by J.G. Ballard, it is one of my most anticipated 2016 releases due to its cast, particularly a certain Mr Hiddleston who is perfect to play the book’s protagonist Dr Robert Laing. If you’re interested in the film: here’s the trailer, and if not entirely hooked on the book already then the first sentence should solve that: “Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.”
To provide a quick synopsis of the book to explain some of the cover designs, High Rise tells the tale of bachelor Dr Laing as he moves into a swish new development, the high rise, a new sort of luxurious living with everything you could possibly want in one building. Just when he becomes acquainted with his new home in the tower block, its advantages, and the cast of interesting co-inhabitants contained within, order begins to break down within its four walls and the highly stratified social order begins to collapse, leaving anarchy, dubious morality, and violence in its wake. Ballard’s rather dystopian book concerns itself with human (or animal) nature, violence, and the laws of the jungle – the most chilling element of High Rise is perhaps how easily an allegedly civilised society slips into criminality and primitiveness, order into disorder, and humanity into barbarism, suggesting that perhaps civilisation isn’t quite as civilised as it would like to think. Continue reading